Diverticulosis

Diverticulosis

Diverticulitis is a type of gastrointestinal condition. In it, the diverticuli that have developed in the colon rupture. When this occurs, it creates the risk of infection in the tissues that are around the colon. If you have diverticulosis or you’ve been diagnosed with diverticuli, our Brooklyn gastroenterologist will help you to determine what can be done to improve your health.

Understanding Diverticulosis

The colon, also known as the large intestine, is a long tube-like structure that is located in your abdomen. It is a part of your digestive tract that takes matter that’s already been digested by your body and works to remove it from your body. In many cases, pressure in the colon created by this matter can create a bulging pocket or sac to form. This tissue juts outwards away from the interior of the colon against the wall. This is called a diverticulum. It is not uncommon for individuals to have multiple diverticuli. And, they can occur at any portion of the colon though they are most commonly found on the left side. This side is called the sigmoid colon. If you have diverticula, you will be diagnosed with diverticulosis.

Many people who have this condition do not have any outward symptoms. And, most do not know they have the condition until the diverticulum ruptures. This creates an infection called diverticulitis. This is a dangerous and sometimes life-threatening condition. If you develop this condition, you will generally have a fever, abdominal tenderness, and abdominal pain overall. The condition will lead to bleeding that occurs in the diverticulum. This diverticular bleeding is concerning as well. When bleeding and rupture happens, the infection located within the diverticulum can spread throughout the surrounding tissues creating health emergency. Other symptoms of this include abdominal cramping, constipation, and colonic obstruction.

Why Do Diverticula Occur?

As a person gets older, the walls of the colon get thicker. This thickening can cause an increase in the amount of pressure that is necessary for the colon to push out feces. If you eat a diet that is low in fiber, which tends to help make waste products easier to remove from the body, this can cause small and hard stools to occur. These are hard for the colon to pass, and, yet, it will continue to work toward doing that. This pushes on the walls of the intestine until cracks occur. Pouches or sacs form here, creating the diverticula.

What Are the Symptoms of Diverticular Disease?

As noted, you may not have any idea that you have this condition. No outward symptoms are obvious in most people. Your gastroenterologist in Brooklyn may discover the condition when investigating other digestive concerns. About 20 percent of people with diverticulosis develop symptoms. Those symptoms may include:

  • Cramping in the abdomen
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

These are all brought on by the difficulty of the colon to pass stool properly and by the diverticular disease itself. The key thing to remember is that this condition can have serious consequences if left untreated. Those may include:

  • Colon obstruction
  • Collection of pus in the pelvis in an abscess
  • Diverticulitis
  • Bleeding into the colon
  • Generalized infection of the abdominal cavity called bacterial peritonitis

Bleeding can occur when the diverticulum expand and, as a result, erodes into a local blood vessel. When this happens, you may have red, dark, or maroon-colored blood or clots. Usually, there will also be abdominal pain associated with this condition. The bleeding in these situations can be constant or it may be intermittent. It can last several days or longer. When this occurs, do not wait to seek out care from our Brooklyn gastroenterologist.

If you have bleeding like this, you may be hospitalized for monitoring. You may be given intravenous fluids as well. This can help to control your blood pressure. In some people with moderate to severe bleeding, blood transfusions may be necessary. In rare cases, bleeding can cause your blood pressure to fall quickly leading to dizziness and shock. You may lose consciousness in these cases. However, most people will see the bleeding stop and will be able to go home. If you have persistent bleeding, surgery may be necessary to remove the diverticula.

Diverticulosis isn’t a condition to avoid treating. Talk to our Brooklyn gastroenterologist about the symptoms to ensure you get proper treatments and care for it.